Backpage from Khartoum, Sudan

Posted on March 21st, 2012 in Recent posts by .

In our current issue (#83 April/May 2012) Tim Cumming reports on the changing live music scene in Khartoum, Sudan (read more on p106). Tim has been kind enough to share some of his videos from his trip.

Words by Tim Cumming

Sam Lee and Friends perform with Omar Ihsas, Saul Einsenberg and Dr Manal Eldin  
Filmed in a single take during a break from rehearsals under the shade of a huge neem tree in the garden of The Traditional House of Arts, Sam Lee sat with Omar Ihsas, a famous singer from Darfur and Dr Manal Eldin, a pharmacist by profession, a singer from Khartoum with the most clear and beautiful voice. The three of them improvised this stunning performance of a hare-coursing song that met midway between Sudanese and British folk traditions, with Saul Eisenberg on his gas canister and the three singers trading verses in different languages and on the same melody. They’d repeat it on stage the following night.


Sufi Dancers in Khartoum
Filmed in front of the tomb of Sheikh Hamid al-Nil as the sun sets on Khartoum on a Friday night, a crowd of several hundred Sufi worshippers circle a square of burnt ochre earth. Dancers sweep up and down through the middle, while others circle the square or stand at the edges, rocking back and forth until – as if they have stepped through some invisible gate – they begin to turn, faster then faster again.


Sudan’s Got Talent
Halfway through Sam Lee and Friends’ closing number, a young Sudanese girl climbs onto the stage to cut these outrageously good moves for a minute then, with a nonchalant wave of her hand, slips back down the steps into the audience, which swallows her up with a cathartic release of applause. A brave and political act is wrapped up in that impulsive stepping up to the stage. It is, very probably, the most beautiful and brave dance I have ever seen.


You can watch more of Tim Cumming’s videos on his Vimeo page

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Switch to our mobile site